Ivernia Inc. is working toward a February 2010 restart of mining and processing operations at its Magellan open-cut lead carbonate mine and concentrator located about 30 km west of Wiluna in the Midwest region of Western Australia. The mine and plant have been on care and maintenance since April 2007, when operations were suspended as a result of environmental problems arising from the shipping of its bulk lead concentrates through the port of Esperance.
Magellan received Western Australia government approval in August 2009 for a new system of handling its concentrate shipments. The concentrate is packed in United Nations- and state government-approved, double-lined, 2-mt bags. Each bag is sealed, and its exterior is vacuumed before it is loaded into a steel shipping container. When the shipping container is full, it is locked and loaded onto a truck. Trucks and containers are washed before leaving the site for delivery to the nearest rail terminal at Lenora. The containers are railed to the Port of Fremantle for loading onto ships and delivery to customers. The process eliminates any rehandling of the material between the mine site and the customer.
The Magellan mine began concentrate shipments from its existing 21,000-mt, mine-site stockpile in September 2009. As of November 11, 204 containers containing 4,400 dry mt of concentrates had been shipped. Following the targeted restart of mining operations in February, five to six months of ramp up will be required to reach full production of about 85,000 mt/y of lead in concentrate.
Magellan’s plant throughput rate averaged 1.5 million mt/y of ore during previous operations. Ivernia plans to increase this to 1.9 million mt/y following the ramp up period. At that operating rate and based on current reserves, mine life will be 6.5 years.
Ivernia has an active exploration program that targets both the immediate mine area and potential targets within 50 km of mine operations. Regional exploration will not be restricted to lead deposits, as the existing plant could be modified to treat other ores.